Tag your favorite Groomer in Jacksonville!

tag, jacksonville groomer, favorite, jackonville beachWe want to know how your dog got to look (and smell) so GREAT!

Tag your favorite Jacksonville Groomer!

Give a shout out to your most awesome Jacksonville professional GROOMER by tagging them on our Facebook Post … The groomer with the most tags by the time we change our banner will get a listing on unleashjax.com FREE for one year! Only TAGS count, not likes, people.

(Groomers, feel free to nudge your clients

Is your groomer on unleashjax? Give them a REVIEW so others know how awesome they are! Is your groomer not on unleashjax? Tell them to get their fuzzy butts listed ASAP.

Finding a groomer you can trust with your baby can be difficult. If you don’t already have one, please check out our directory!

Blood. Sweat. Tears.


Reprinted from the Unleash Jacksonville Brilliant Issue.


When you see someone fully embracing their passion—and growing in it—BOOM! It’s pretty darn inspiring, right? Kelly Kinlaw of Fur Sisters has been dedicated to saving dogs from high-kill shelters for many years and always wanted to be able to do more. Save more. Last July, Kelly realized her dream when Fur Sisters opened a 750 square-foot transitional space for dogs coming from urgent situations. In this space, dogs can decompress while waiting for a foster or adopter. This time allowed to transition is so important, because dogs are often too stressed in shelters to show their true personality and they get overlooked time after time. In the week or so that dogs stay at Fur Sisters, they can relax in this calm space while listening to music, enjoying some aromatherapy, and getting lots of treats. They are also tested with cats and other dogs during this time to see what kind of home would be best for them.

Here is where we need to stress that the new space IS NOT an adoption center (although that is one of Kelly’s ultimate goals), and it IS NOT a drop off for found or unwanted animals. But, while it’s true the new space is not an adoption center and you can’t just drop in any ‘ol time, there are always some very amazing dogs hanging out and you may make an appointment to meet them!

Fur Sisters mainly pulls from Putnam, Bradford and Clay county shelters, as these shelters are constantly overcrowded and, unfortunately, euthanize for space. They’ve also taken in some sweet pups from emergency situations, like Norman, who was thrown out of a moving car on Normandy Boulevard, and Angel, who was found in a Walmart Parking lot, completely starved, and the bottom half of her stained yellow and brown—you can figure out from what. You may also have seen Fur Sisters on the news when they helped Louis, a homeless man living in the woods taking care of a pack of dogs. Louis was taking as best of care as he could of the dogs he loved—they were being treated better than he treated himself. Fur Sisters stepped in to help the dogs and are also continuing to help Louis.

Here’s some exciting news for those of you who are looking for a great hair cut and want to meet some dogs at the same time! Kelly has moved her “day job” to be in the same building, so that she can be more efficient in both her rescue work and her making-people-look-gorgeous work. Cuts by Kelly moved to the front of the Fur Sisters space in Jax Beach in September of 2017. Go get your human hairs cut!

The new Fur Sisters location is a fantastic asset to our beach community. If you’d like to become involved (and become a “Fur Angel,” as helpers call themselves), Kelly says they’re always looking for people to help walk and socialize dogs, especially on the weekends. You could take a dog for a beach romp! They also always have a need for chew bones, dry dog food, monetary donations, and fosters—most crucial to save more lives!


Donation items can be dropped off Tuesday through Friday 10-4 or email fureverursrescue@gmail.com to coordinate a time, offer volunteer time, or set an appointment to meet some amazing pups!

Fur sisters currently has several dogs they’ve pulled from high-kill shelters in boarding and the bills are piling up. Kindly Donate to Fur Sisters on #GivingTuesday or offer to foster!


Winnie the Pooch

Winnie, shortly after being rescued

Reprinted from the Unleash Jacksonville Resolute Issue   |   by April Courtney


The day Winnie and her siblings were rescued by Rescue + Freedom Project (R+FP), formerly Beagle Freedom Project, this little love pot couldn’t contain her excitement for her new found freedom! She was loving everyone and everything. She sprinted around the yard and was the only dog brave enough to hop in the little doggy pool. Up until this happy moment, Winnie had spent her whole life in a cage being used as a test subject for beauty products.

The world is a scary place for a little beagle who has never seen the grass or sunlight before. Winnie was fostered by a lovely family for a month before we added her to our motley crew. When we adopted Winnie, she didn’t know how to drink water from a bowl, she only ate her food in the dark, and she was petrified of any loud noises. We knew adopting a special needs animal would be difficult, but I didn’t realize how heartbreaking her story truly was. She didn’t trust humans at all and preferred to spend her time in a small fort made of sheets and pillows in our bedroom. She was scared of the television and all noises. We’d often find her on our bed just sitting there and listening to all these sounds she’d never heard before, shaking in fear.

Winnie confided in me to be her safeguard and was my little shadow, following me around the house wherever I went. She’d sleep under the covers, curled up underneath my chin every night. Slowly but surely, she started to trust more and started coming out of her pillow fort. She started imitating our other dog, Jumbo, and learned how to sleep in a dogbed, hang out on the couch, and go potty outside. She enjoyed going for walks and doing zoomies at the dog park. This little scared beagle started to feel safe and started to explore this big new world of hers.

One of her biggest moments (for her and us) was when she finally jumped up on the couch and cuddled with us while we watched a movie. What a great moment!

We’ve now had Winnie for 8 months, and this little girl has turned into the crazy beagle she was always meant to be. She spends her time sniffing around the backyard, howling at her brother to play, and trying to eat any and all food that she sees. She absolutely loves playing couch gymnastics—jumping from couch to couch and seeing how far she can jump off of them. She has blossomed into such a little daredevil, and it’s been amazing to watch her personality unfold.

We fostered another beagle puppy from Rescue + Freedom Project, which only made Winnie come out of her shell even more. She’s enjoyed playing with him and teaching him how to be a dog! Adopting a special needs animal can be challenging at times, but it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. While Winnie still hasn’t given me a kiss on the cheek, I am patiently waiting for that miraculous day!

The best way to help animals like Winnie is to adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle. Switch your products like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, cleaning products, etc., to brands that don’t test on animals. There’s even an app that makes it very easy to scan a product at the store to find out if it is cruelty free. You can download the R+FP’s Cruelty Cutter app for free!

See an updated video with Winnie for Giving Tuesday right here!

Please DONATE today for #GivingTuesday and your life-saving donation will be DOUBLED by a generous donor – up to $50k!


April Courtney adopted Winnie, an animal testing survivor rescued by Rescue + Freedom Project. Winnie + 1,500 more survivors are now free from labs, shelters, cruelty, and captivity because of people like YOU donating, supporting the cause, and promoting a #RescueLifestyle. YOU make all the difference in these animals lives.

To find our more about animal testing, going cruelty free, or adopting a testing survivor: rescuefreedomproject.org.


Unleash Jacksonville’s Happy Hour Photo Gallery!

We had such a great time at our first Happy Hour at South!  You can’t beat great drinks and food, and amazing dogs and humans! Huge thanks to SOUTH for hosting a lovely patio party, to Pawlicious for the pupcakes, and to all our friends who came out!

Check out the entire photo gallery here!

If you’d like to purchase a print or download of your photo, you totally can! It will be color corrected and gorgeous.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Dogs Banned from Local Breweries.

URGENT + IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED \ Amy Olivieri \ Photo Courtesy of Hyperion Brewing

There aren’t too many places where you can take your dog inside, out of the elements, and socialize (both them and you). That’s what’s been so wonderful about all the fantastic breweries popping up in the last couple years. Jacksonville was starting to feel like a truly cool, dog-friendly city! Most of the breweries don’t serve food, so well-behaved, leashed dogs have been allowed to accompany their owners out of the heat/rain/cold —no more being relegated to the patio with the smokers. It’s HOT in Florida, and dogs like the AC, too. Dog-friendly breweries have also been an integral part in the rescue community, constantly hosting fundraising events and adoption events—and their owners have been amazingly supportive of the animal community by opening their doors to canines. But that seems to be changing, unless we use our voices. Are you in? Woof!

The Florida Health Dept. has now deemed beer as a “food,” and has banned dogs from coming inside breweries. Please sign the petition, instigated by our friends at Green Room Brewing, and call the health department at 904-253-1280 to respectfully voice your opinion.

This is an archaic law. Breweries all across the United States allow dogs. We need to keep Jacksonville on the right track in becoming a hip, cool, dog-friendly city—a place where people want to be… with their dogs!


2. Call 904-253-1280

Dee Zagari, Guardian of the Galaxy (in Neptune Beach)

Reposed from the GUARDIAN issue \ Amy Olivieri


I want to be an animal control officer when I grow up … says every little girl, right? Okay, maybe not every little girl. It’s not a job that most little people maybe even know exists,


I would imagine. Many adults may have a negative connotation when they hear “animal control officer” or see the truck with the cages drive past. I gotta come clean here—I used to be one of those people. I’d be hunched over, wearing a black hoodie, reaching to sneakily let my dog off leash on the beach and then

continue on, not enjoying our time because I was so stressed out, keeping vigilance for the evil “ticket lady.” I thought animal control officers hated animals and

truly relished giving out citations.
I needed to get to the bottom of why someone would want this job. I had some questions for Dee Zagari, who’s been the Neptune Beach Animal Control Officer for the last six years

(and was with Atlantic Beach Animal Control prior to that) to find out why she’s so mean and why she hates animals. Turns out, neither of those things are true! Whaaa … how can this be?

Dee … why do you hate animals?
I don’t.

I don’t believe you. Prove it.
I actually have an animal background. I have a associates in equine training and a bachelors in equine science. Animals—especially horses—are my absolute passion.

What made you interested in animal control?
I’ve always been interested in the structure of law enforcement, but for me, it’s all about the animals. I can really make a difference in their lives.

What is a typical day for you?
I get in at 7am and leave at around 6:30pm. I always come in to make sure they haven’t put any new animals in over night, then I take care of the house cat, Fat Cat. Then I clean and normally head to patrol the beach. After that, I do a parameter run of the whole city and Jarboe Park. Then it’s all about calls. Neptune Beach is usually pretty quiet. Everyone looks out for each other.

What kind of calls do you respond to?
We mainly handle domestics—cats and dogs. We only help wildlife if they’re injured. Nuisance wildlife is handled by Florida Fish and Wild Life or the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida. If it’s sick or injured, we will bring it to Shorelines. If they can help it they will. Certain times of year, we have rabbits. People get them for Easter and find out they’re a lot of work and release them. Then we have to go out and try to catch these domesticated rabbits who don’t belong/won’t survive in the wild. [ Don’t do it, people. ]

Do you have a most memorable call?
During my time in Neptune Beach, it would be the goat running loose at the five-way. It took us about 45 minutes to catch her—every time we would get her fenced in, she’d go right through the slots of the fence. Dealing with traffic and everyone looking to see what was going on—that was crazy. Goats are not allowed in the city, so I’m sure her owners didn’t want to claim her because of the fine. Her name is now Annabelle, and we relocated her to Ponte Vedra. She’s very sweet!

What’s the most difficult thing about animal control?
When I have to deal with neglect and cruelty. Some people just need education because they honestly didn’t know. But when it’s a blatant lack of food, water, or shelter—common sense things—that’s difficult to deal with. It’s not a big thing in Neptune Beach, but there are some tough cases. The part that I hate the most is writing people senseless tickets, but it’s my job and I have to do it—if you’re breaking an ordinance, I have to write a ticket. People always say Don’t you have something better to do? No. This is literally why I’m here. To keep people and pets safe.

What are the citations?
We do three stages—first offense is $50, then it goes to $75 then to $100 for everything except cruelty/neglect, leaving dog in a hot car, and dog bites.

What is something you’d like people to know about your job?
The number one thing is people always say I must hate animals. I’m not in this job for money, it’s not glamorous … so, it’s all about the love of animals. I would do anything to help an animal. I can’t even think why someone would get into this position if they didn’t love animals. It’s all for the love. None of us enjoy driving the beach and writing tickets. But it’s part of our job.

Do you have any hot tips for people who’ve lost their pets?
The first thing to do is go on Next Door and Facebook and then—of course, the cities don’t particularly care for them but—put up flyers with at least one good photo. Each beach has their own animal control, so if you’re at the beach, call them all and bring a flyer to each one … we work together. I like to know what each animal control has in their kennels. I’m constantly on Facebook in the Lost and Found pages trying to help reunite pets with their people. We want an empty kennel. And also go to the vets—and bring your flyer.

What is the process when a dog or cat is picked up as a stray?
Here in Neptune, we hold for five days. 95% of our dogs that come in as strays go home that day or the next morning—which is great. We don’t have very many people who don’t claim their animals.

How many times have you been bitten?
Just four times in 15 years. I’m very cautious. [Read: good at what she does.] Once was a cat—all four teeth into my calf, and it twisted it’s face and shook. That hurt. I’ve also gotten bitten by a Chow, a Husky, and Fat Cat.

Is there anything the public can do to help Animal Controls at the beaches?
We always take donations—anything from old blankets, towels, and sheets, to pet food donations, treats, and toys—if we can’t use it at the beaches, we take it to Animal Care and Protective Services downtown or the Humane Society. We reach out to other rescues to see if they can use it as well.
Each animal control also has their own volunteer needs as well. In Neptune, we need volunteers to help in the kennel on my days off—if you’re over 18 and can pass a drug test—come help! I encourage people to reach out to their animal controls to find out what’s needed.

C’mon Dee … Why can’t dogs be off the leash on the beach?
It would be great if they could, right? But, the main thing is safety. You have control of your dog when it’s on a leash, and you don’t have control when it’s not, no matter what you think. With birds and kids (some kids like dogs and some kids don’t) and cyclists … and other dogs—your dog may be friendly, but there may be a dog walking on a leash that is not and your dog runs up to it and it may get hurt. The rules are truly there for safety. I always use my mom as an example—she loves dogs, but if she was approached by a dog she didn’t know on the beach, she’d most likely have a heart attack. We try to be as accommodating as we can, but our objective is to keep everyone safe.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I love being at home hanging out with my three old pups. I also just started riding horses again, which I’m extremely excited about.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about being an animal control officer?
We’re not mean! We’re very approachable. We loooove talking about animals, and each one of us are specific to the kind of dogs we love. I personally LOVE old dogs, and my breed of choice would be Belgian Malinois. I do what I do because I love the job. Next time you see me, wave or say hi! I’m really not so bad.

Thank you for clearing up those misconceptions for us, Dee, and for all you do to keep us and our pets safe! We appreciate you. •

SUNNY issue – digital edition released today!

SUNNY {adj} Cheery + Bright

We all needed an issue filled with just the good stuff! This issue will make you feel warm inside and out, and may make you wish you’d named YOUR dog Sunny. Maybe?

A HUGE thank you to Shane Patterson from Sunshine Paws Photography for creating the stunning cover of Lauren + Too Wyckoff of Brewhound. We deemed Lauren the Sunniest Person in Jacksonville, and you can learn just a little bit more about her in this issue.

Also in the SUNNY issue:
Guest Editor: Blue (Blue is Badass)
Snout Scout photos (Did we find your dog out and about?)
Behind the camera with Shane Patterson (Sunshine Paws Photography)
Cover contest time (Does your dog have what it takes?)
A summer recap diary entry by Hank the Hound
An intro to force-free training with Kate Godfrey (Comprehensive Canine Training, LLC)
Summer Smarts by Karen Camerlengo
Protecting Greyhounds – VOTE YES on 13 by Jessie Miller of Epic Outreach
Canine Concierge Program started by Pit Sisters
Upcoming event: Woofstock benefitting Safe Animal Shelter
The Major Dog House Project by Janice Frank
Meet your Good Nabr, Ryan Dunaway
Everything you wanted to know about Barkin’ Biscuits by Ellen Hiser
Fall in love with adorable adoptables!

Read the digital issue now! Pick up your physical copy next week.
Be on the look out for our Issue Release Happy Hour parties! (YES! Parties, plural).

Now you can subscribe to Unleash Jacksonville!

You’ll never have to leave your dogs again! \ Amy Olivieri

I can’t believe we’re publishing our nineteenth issue–SUNNY is at the printer as we speak. After every issue I look around and whisper … who did that … how did that get done? Should that be the last issue? Is it nap time now? 

No. Bring on TWENTY!

I figured after this many issues, it might be time to offer fancy-schmanzzzzy in-house delivery, like, subscription style. People ask where they can get Unleash all the time … they are FREE all over town. You just need to find them, scavenger-hunt style. Or, you can simply click here to find a location.

Better yet now you can SUBSCRIBE and we’ll get each glamorous new issue to you (but it won’t be free, you’ll pay dearly). It will be hand delivered by your adorable mail person. You’d been hoping to see them more, anyway, right?

We appreciate you knowing how to read and then choosing to read our humble publication. We are independent, original, and full of love for dogs (and you, you cutie patootey)!

Jacksonville Citizens Step Up for Pups

Jacksonville Citizens Step Up for Pups \ SUNNY issue \ by Janice Frank

When a local program supporting Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) came an end, a plea was made to the public to help reignite the dog house program. Once led by the Englewood high school wood shop class, dog houses were supplied to ACPS to distribute in the community to keep dogs with their owners and out of the shelter. Unfortunately, with the retirement of the shop teacher, the dog house program came to an end however the need did not.

Luckily, a local man and his son answered the call! Dave Howard and son Luke, a senior at Bishop Kenny, had been discussing potential opportunities for Luke to fulfill his school’s community service requirements. As dog lovers and handy hobbyists, they thought this would be a fun way to spend time together while serving the community!

With a need averaging four dog houses per week, Dave and Luke made a goal to build nine houses and relied on neighbors and friends for some quick fundraising to make it happen. Their request was responded to with great generosity (because our community is awesome), and the pair were able to build nine beautiful houses for dogs that didn’t have shelter! They would love to continue the effort, but need community support. Materials for one house cost about $75, and the project welcomes both business and individual sponsors.

Please join EPIC Outreach for the first fundraising event to help make more dog houses for under served areas of Jacksonville, August 27 at Hamburger Mary’s—Bingo For Dogs!

To see more photos and find out how YOU can join the project, follow The Major Dog House Project!

Hank, Unleash’s Fun Correspondent, doing final inspections.
Strong men lifting things.
Companies like the wonderful MERO REALTY can sponsor houses!
“Paws up! These houses are good to go … get ‘um outta here!”

Cleopatra Needs Another Victory

We first met Cleo in the VICTORY issue—her serendipitous story amazed us! We were recently contacted by her hooman, letting us know she was just diagnosed with cancer. She’ll be well taken care of at SEVO-Med starting next week, but we’re hoping after you read her story, you will please unleash the love and good healing vibes her way as well. She’s a special kitty with lots of life left in her! She is very loved.

Serendipity, a cosmic coincidence
Serendipity, the unfolding of events
Serendipity, that brought us to the moment that we’re in

Do you believe that this makes sense?
Could you conceive the unfolding of events
Do you believe that this is…

Serendipity, serendipity, serendipity?

~ The Cranberries

CLEOPATRA, My Victory Story \ Victory issue \ by Carrie Good

My husband and I were eating Easter dinner at his parents’ home in 2009. I glanced out the window and saw a chubby Tortoiseshell kitty on the sidewalk—I had to go meet her. She was extremely friendly and came right up to me to be petted. When I left to go back in to finish dinner, she followed me. I noticed that her belly was very big, and not just from two cans of cat food. She was pregnant.

I didn’t stop thinking about the kitty after we left, and my mother-in-law said the kitty was basically glued to her back porch. She checked with neighbors and no one knew the cat. We went back, picked up the kitty—who we called Cleopatra, as she looked like a queen to us—and took her to the Jacksonville Humane Society the following day, since we already had two cats. We were told since Cleo was pregnant, they would keep her until we were able to find her owners. I had to imagine she had an owner since she was so very friendly. We waited and waited, but no one came for this sweet girl.

Cleo had four kittens. Once they were old enough, they were spayed and neutered and placed up for adoption. Cleopatra was also adopted, and I thought that’s where this story would end.

Much to my dismay, Cleo’s new owners returned her with the return reason of allergic. I was so upset I couldn’t adopt her due to the unfortunate realization that Cleo didn’t enjoy the company of other cats … at all! But I knew her perfect home was out there somewhere.

A few weeks later I learned that Cleo was adopted to a family in St. Augustine. Again, we were relieved. End of story? Nope.

Two years later, my husband was reading the paper and I heard him gasp. He pointed to “Cold Noses — Pet of the Week,” female Tortoiseshell, Cleopatra. This Cleopatra was at St. John’s County Animal Shelter. It couldn’t be. Could it? Would her her family have turned her over to a “kill shelter?” Panic set in. A quick call to St. John’s confirmed my worst fear. The microchip number matched. Now my head was spinning. I stewed about it all weekend. Finally, Monday I drove straight to St. John’s and there she was! My sweet Cleo. I adopted her and brought her back to Jacksonville, where I knew her life would be spared.
With tears streaming down my face, I left with Cleopatra, having no idea of where I was going to take her. I called the Humane Society on the way home. They advised me that St. John’s should have contacted them when they found the chip. They let me bring her in, and they would put her up for adoption, again.
No way was I going to let just anyone adopt her. I visited her every chance I got, and  I was getting more and more attached every time I went. She was so sweet, loved to be brushed, and loved to get her ears rubbed. Each time I went home, I asked my husband if we could adopt her. Realistically, I knew it was a bad idea, but who could love her more than me?

Two months passed.

Out of the blue one Sunday morning, my husband said, “Let’s go visit Cleo. If she is still there we’ll bring her home.” What? OK, let’s go! When we arrived, one of the volunteers took me aside and said that Cleo had an adopter. They were there to pick her up! I went to the cat room and there were Cleo’s new pet parents. A young girl and her boyfriend. I was so excited. I told her all about Cleo. I was feeling relived that Cleo wouldn’t have to spend another night in a cage.

A few days later I received a frantic email from Cleo’s new mom—she was allergic and could I take Cleo for her. My heart shattered. Really? How could this be happening to my girl … again. I agreed to meet her boyfriend at the Humane Society and switch over ownership from them to me. She was finally coming home—for good. I can’t describe how right this felt.

Cleo is now the queen of this house. She is the highest on the totem pole now with five—yes five— other kitties below her. She doesn’t get along perfectly with all of them, but she tolerates them. She is right where she belongs—sleeping next to us every night. The only regret I have is not adopting her the first three times I had the chance! •

Please comment below to send Cleo and her parents your good wishes for her recovery!